Two FIEA students demonstrate motion capture.

UCF’s FIEA presents inaugural ‘Girls and Games’ conference

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More than 50 people attended UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and Electronic Arts (FIEA) conference this weekend meant to inspire women to pursue opportunities in the video game industry.

”Girls and Games” took place Saturday at UCF’s Center for Emerging Arts in downtown Orlando.

Todd Deery, the communication and admission director of FIEA, said the event aimed to inspire young women by allowing them to see and hear from successful women in the industry.

Industry professionals from Electronic Arts’ Orlando studio, EA Tiburon and FIEA held sessions about motion capture, software engineering, music composition, video game art and more.

In 2017, females accounted for 66 percent of the online gaming population in the United States, according to Newzoo, the leading provider of market intelligence covering global games, esports and mobile markets.

Keynote speaker Sigurlína Ingvarsdóttir brought up these statistics to prove gaming isn’t just for men as women also make up a large part of the gaming world.

She discussed the opportunities the gaming industry has given her to inspire the audience of young girls, such as how she had the chance to coordinate the development for “Star Wars: Battlefront,” a series of video games based on the Star Wars films.

Ingvarsdóttir has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Iceland and is now a senior producer for FIFA, the biggest-selling AAA game in 2016.

“Because game development is largely a male dominated field right now, it means that we need a lot more women coming to all parts of it to add their perspective and their experiences into the mix so that we can make even better games making young kids  especially girls — feel invited and included in these amazing worlds,” Ingvarsdóttir said.

The conference also featured “Press Play Sessions,” workshops including motion capture demonstrations, video game music and video game art meant to teach students the video game industry.

“I think it’s important to be able to inspire,” said Amanda Beaver, a UCF alumna who led one of the day’s sessions. “Some girls can feel a little bit unsure, but to be able to see that other women are in the industry as well is a great way to inspire and motivate them to pursue their passions and dreams.”

Students from UCF and area high schools including Winter Park’s Circle Christian School were in attendance.

“We know it’s important for us to try and diversify our classrooms and for the industry to become more diverse as well,” Deery said.